Robert Gioia Receives Distinguished Citizen Achievement Award

Robert D. Gioia is the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Achievement Award. Presented by the Canisius College Board of Regents, the award recognizes an individual whose economic, civic and cultural contributions have enhanced the Western New York community. The Board recognized Gioia at its 47th annual Regents Scholarship Ball held on Saturday, May 4. The event was sponsored by Independent Health.

A Buffalo native, Gioia began his career in 1970 as part of the third generation of the Gioia family operating the Gioia Macaroni Company. He held subsequent leadership positions at The Red Wing Co. Inc. and with the Food Group of Strategic Investments and Holdings. Gioia’s business acumen, political savvy and strength of character have since made him one of the region’s most engaged and influential leaders, often called upon to guide community initiatives through difficult tasks.

As chair of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Gioia led the completion of the $120 million Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. A similar role with the Western New York Health System resulted in the successful implementation of hospital streamlining plans for the state Berger Commission. Gioia currently steers the momentum to develop a world-class Canalside and Outer Harbor district, as chair of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation. But it is his longtime leadership role with the charitable John R. Oishei Foundation that has enabled Gioia to affect positive change in all areas of the community, from cultural to educational, health and medical research.

The Regents Scholarship Ball provides vital financial support to promising young students, who otherwise would not be able to take advantage of a Canisius education.